Canadian soldier, gunman dead in parliament attack

Canadian soldier, gunman dead in parliament attack
Police officers take cover near Parliament Hilll following a shooting incident in Ottawa on Oct 22.

OTTAWA - A gunman whose name was on a terror watch list killed a soldier and attempted to storm Canada's Parliament on Wednesday before being gunned down in turn by the assembly's sergeant-at-arms.

The attacker, identified in the Canadian media as 32-year-old Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, was considered a "high risk" suspect and had seen his passport seized to prevent him fighting abroad.

He shot and killed a Canadian soldier who was mounting a ceremonial guard at a war memorial in downtown Ottawa before storming into the nearby parliament building.

The soldier was named in reports as Corporal Nathan Cirillo, part of a detachment on ceremonial duties at Parliament Hill, the heart of Canada's national government and home to its legislature.

The attacker was killed, reportedly by a shot fired by the bearer of the House of Commons' ceremonial mace, Sergeant-At-Arms Kevin Vickers, who was hailed as a hero by lawmakers.

Police said an investigation was continuing, but earlier reports that more gunmen were involved appeared unfounded. Heavily armed officers backed by armored vehicles sealed off the building.

The attack came two days after another alleged Islamist drove over and killed another soldier in what authorities branded a terrorist attack.

Authorities had raised the security threat level from low to medium after the car attack, which came as Canadian jets were to join the US-led air armada bombarding Islamist militants in Iraq.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper warned that "facts are still being gathered" as he "condemned this despicable attack." A police spokesman said two people received "minor injuries" in the incident.

Lawmakers, staff and reporters evacuated from the building spoke of intense gunfire in the historic building on Parliament Hill.

Video footage posted online by the Globe and Mail newspaper showed police ducking for cover as they advanced along a stone hallway, loud gunfire echoing among parliament's stone columns.

'Pop, pop, pop'

A member of parliament, Maurice Vellacott, told AFP that House of Commons security had told one of his aides the suspect had been killed inside parliament.

"I literally had just taken off my jacket to go into caucus. I hear this 'pop, pop, pop,' possibly 10 shots, don't really know," Liberal Party member John McKay told reporters outside.

"Suddenly the security guards come rushing down the hallways and usher us all out to the back of the parliament buildings," he said, as lawmakers, staff and reporters scurried from the area.

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